By Zahra Ebrahim
I want you to value designers. I really do. And I know it’s hard, because the most labor intensive part of their work is this intangible thing called “process”, but it is critical. I am constantly getting asked if I know or can refer people to designers of all kinds – likely because I teach at a design school, or perhaps because I run a design think tank – but what if you weren’t someone who knows someone involved in the design world? Where would you go for design help? What would you Google search?
This month, I am very excited to be able to realize a dream project of mine with a friend and fellow designer, Ken Chong. It’s called the Design Walk-In. The Design Walk-In is a storefront design agency where the general public can walk in, talk to a designer who will assess their design health and the needs of their project – time, budget, aesthetic – and either give an on-site prescription or refer them to a trusted specialist in our network. This gives the public access to designers that meet their unique needs, and freelance and young designers access to projects, clients and publicity.
We are opening today, June 4 and through the month of June as a pilot to test our hypothesis: if design is made more accessible, people will better value it. With the help of organizations like TASDesignBuild, we have been able to set up this first experiment. We hope to grow the project as a permanent space in Toronto and other cities worldwide.